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Osheaga Day 1: Sarah's Roundup

Posted by Sarah / August 5, 2008

Osheaga2008For the last two days, I've had the immense pleasure, along with other of our writers, to attend the ever-growing music festival Osheaga. It's been over 10 years since I first attended a music festival at Parc Jean Drapeau. In fact, one of my first trips to Montreal was to come see the Vans Warped Tour 1997. Though the food and drinkables were grossly overpriced - the cheapest food being one corn on the cob for a whopping $3 (as you can usually expect from any festival) the experience was altogether a whole lot of fun. It gave me a chance to check out a bunch of bands I've been meaning to see for a while and discover new ones as well.

Tom Fun OrchestraMy first day began with The Tom Fun Orchestra: a rowdy bunch of Cape-Bretonners who also happen to be great musicians. Their style is a folky-swinging-rock which benefits from a variety of the numerous band members individual influences. The singer's raspy voice and the steady strong beats give a certain electricity to the clear traces of Maritime folk that guide the musical trajectory taken by this band. Don't be mistaken by picturing a more laid-back folk sound though. The East Coast sound is more about stirring up a barn burner than about sitting around a camp fire. It swings and entertains crowds and the musicians have that part down as well. Though it wasn't quite late enough in the day to benefit from a drunken crowd yet, I think they still managed to get a few hips shaking.

While that was going on, I hopped away quickly to check out a bit of the Polaris-nominated Plants & Animals. Maybe I didn't see enough of it to judge, but it seemed like there was something missing to their performance. Like a friend of mine pointed out, perhaps it's the album's beautiful instrumentation, which wasn't on stage with the trio, that sort of left a lot of space to be filled in my expectations. For what they were though, only three musicians, they did a pretty good job and sounded good. Satisfactory, but definitely not a revelation.

After that, I ran over and caught Metric's show at one of the bigger stages. I've seen this band a few times before and really enjoy their music. The superbly hot Emily Haines was wearing a funky shiny-blue suit and her voice sounded up to standard. However, this performance left me sort of "meh". The stage movements felt planned and lacked spontaneity. I saw her do the exact same dance a while back right before they launched Live It Up. Nothing bad, simply no better than remembered it to be the first few times around.

I heard Sharon Jones while I was taking a social break from the concerts. I was duly impressed that Osheaga would bring such a solid and soulful act to their stages. To that I say "Bravo"!

Cat PowerAs the "sun" was gearing towards a more serious dip, Cat Power took over one of the main stages. I remember a friend of mine, who's her world's biggest fan, telling me about a show of hers he saw some years ago. When he saw her, she went on stage, sat at a piano, played one song and started bawling and left the stage in a panic. Apparently she has had some issues with performing in the past. Needless to say my friend was disappointed, which is one of the reasons why my expectations of this were sort of low. Seriously, I was impressed. Unbelievably impressed actually. Her voice sounded wonderful, her mellow yet intense sounds were soothing, and she was backed up by some really great musicians who had their shit together. Her performance was nice and heartfelt. Sincerely, I enjoyed seeing her live a lot more than I have enjoyed her last few albums.

Iggy and the StoogesThe legendary Iggy and The Stooges followed shortly after. There was no way anyone watching this sweaty shirtless man throw himself around on stage could do anything but smile. At least I couldn't wipe mine off if I tried. The sixty-two year old icon gave the enthusiastic crowd a fantastic performance with more energy and juice than any band I've ever seen on stage. Not only was he energetic and intoxicatingly fun to watch, but his voice and his band sounded as fresh as it does on the recordings dating from the late-sixties.

National ParcsAfter bouncing around with my friend's baby to the sounds of The Killers for a while, I headed back over to the Tree Stage to catch The National Parcs' fantastic show. This band has a creative way of mixing interesting nature-sounds into their hip-hop beat and puts on an energetic and almost theatrical performance that is definitely worth seeing. I was majorly impressed by these guys and their superb stage-dynamics. They also had a very cool visuals going on throughout the show, much more than you usually see during a live music performance, which was pretty great.

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Jer / August 5, 2008 at 08:41 pm
Great pics sarah. Love the shot of the guy with the accordian.
Sarah / August 5, 2008 at 09:56 pm
thanks dude.
Yah, TFO was wild.
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